Sunday, 10 January 2010

Geoff Holt - Quadraplegic sails Atlantic

Geoff wrote an article in The Sunday Times about his single-handed sail across the Atlantic. Feel inspired; read a similar article about him by clicking on my blog-post title.
Photo by Phil Yeomans. Post created using the iPhone. It took 300 seconds to complete the post; can you do it quicker ?

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Snow, snow and a bit more to come . . .

My road at mid-morning today. It is 0 degrees Celcius, but with the 28 mph (46 kph for the Canadians) gusts from the north-east, it will feel like -5 or so. As you can see there's lots of ice. Snow is fluffy and you have trouble slipping on it. Ice is super-slippery, and even more so when it's about freezing and there's melted ice-water lying on top. I put grit on the pavement (sidewalk for the Canadians) down my side of the road, and that is great for getting up to the top of the road, where the Council has gritted the road and pavement.
I am writing this particular blog as my sister Mad (who lives in Fort St John in Canada, about ten miles from the Arctic Circle. It gets down to - 50 Celcius there in the winter, but warms up in the summer.) rang and left a message that she'd seen horrendous reports on TV, of people marooned in the countryside, pregnant mums unable to get out of the house to the maternity ward, etcetera. She was ringing to find out if we were coping.
Mad, we are fine. The central heating is getting a good workout, and our cat Pixie hasn't been out in the garden for a few weeks now. There's lots of grub in the shops, and anytime I want a bottle of whiskey, it's just next door. I am waiting for a thaw, as I'd like to get back on my bicycle. One downside is that there's no supply work for me as a teacher, because 1,000 secondary schools in London are shut. Something about the playgrounds being too slippery.
it is snowing gently outside my window as I write this blog. Unusually for central London, it is staying when it hits the ground. We are due for a BIG fall later today (click on my post title for the official Met Weather forecast for my area); as we have no idea how to control a motor vehicle in the snow over here, it is safest if they keep all the cars off the road until the snow is cleared, but no-one seems to care.
The man on the radio said it was warmer in Antarctica than in London yesterday. By the way, Happy Birthday for tomorrow Mad. Will you be doing a spot of ice-fishing through the river ice ?

Postscript : six of us in my road (there's ninety front doors here) got out and scraped the compressed snow (turns into slick ice, doesn't it !) from the pavement in front of our shop or house. We got a little carried away, and the next thing you know, half the pavement down the north side is cleared (our little road is 300 m long, each house-front is five metres wide). The guys who go to the gym bashed away at the ice on the end of the road, where the cars are sliding about.

Tip - use a six kg. hammer with a one metre long handle; drop it from a height of 300 mm (watch out for your toes). This makes a shock wave which disrupts the molecules, and then you can sweep the ice bits out of the way. Cheaper than grit and salt, as well. There's sixty thousand Arsenal football fans in Finsbury Park this afternoon, and I'm sure those coming down our road will appreciate our efforts.

Friday, 8 January 2010

ONE Tetra-byte back-up . . . .

For the past three months my Macbook Pro has been without a full back-up. Silly really, but no-one told me what to do when both the hard disk drive and the back-up drive are 98 % full. I went to the mecca at the Apple Store on Regent Street yesterday, and they said 'Normally you delete to make space.'

Very sensible, but I've been sticking files on the computer from five years ago, as and when I needed old photos, old spreadsheets, and so on. My buddy Ben had said 'Don't just buy another Time Capsule, add an external hard disk drive to it, and save money !'. The Apple Geniuses agreed, and so I got a Lacie 1 Tb drive, which has a USB 2.0 connection (my existing Time Capsule only has RJ45 and USB 2.0, they forgot to put Firewire on it).
Yesterday I had 316 Gb used on my MacBook. This morning I've dumped 80 Gb so far, all onto the new back-up. Wow, it is like losing weight . . .click on the post title to whizz to an online article all about Time Machine . . . if you don't have a Mac, this is a REALLY good reason to change over from a PC . . . another reason is that they're a lot more fun to use and to look at. Yes, I know, PC's are catching up . . .